City of Samnat: Ty'Gokor, Klingon Empire
The ancient city of Samnat was once the shining capital of the Samnatti Oligarchy: a powerful nation of merchants, scholars, and warriors. For over two-thousand years, they dominated their native homeworld of Ty'Gokor, mining the mineral rich asteroids and moons of their local space for precious resources to trade with neighboring star systems. However, by the 24th Century, the Samnatti were all but extinct, reduced to a few scattered settlements across the Klingon Empire and scratching out a meager existence serving their masters as jeghpu'wI'.
During the reign of Emperor Kaldon in Earth's 16th century, a massive fleet of warships under the command of General Biroq, penetrated Ty'Gokor's asteroid belt and laid siege to the planet. Legions of Klingon warriors landed on the planet's surface and obliterated the Samnatti. The campaign culminated in the legendary Battle of Samnat where Biroq personally slew the oligarchs and their guards to raise the Klingon flag over the first interstellar conquest of the Empire. Kaldon declared that no rank gave sufficient honor to Biroq for his glorious actions and so bestowed on him the title of the first Dahar Master.
For eight centuries, Ty'Gokor had been the heart of the Klingon Defense Forces and the ruins of Samnat had been perfectly preserved as the ultimate symbol of the Klingon people's will to fight and conquer. The title, "High Governor of Ty'Gokor" was reserved for the leader of the entire Defense Force and the Chancellor's closest military advisor. The most legendary Klingons in modern history had held the post: Kor, Kang, Koloth, Chang, and Martok. Today, Torlek would join their ranks.
The senior staff of the Pershing stood on the cracked marble steps in front of the crumbling fašade of Samnatti Oligarchs' palace. Tigranian and Laria both wore long grey stoles emblazoned with the crest of Torlek over their white dress uniforms. Lady Elessa stood proudly next to them dressed in her own ritual finery. Klingon dignitaries crowded around to fill out the assembly.
They looked out on the overgrown, decrepit buildings of the city's central avenue flanked with over a hundred Yan-Isleth guards in polished armor and red headbands. Each carried a bat'leth in the crook of their right arm. Behind each of the rows of guards were ten, huge targ skin drums on wooden stands. Each instrument was manned by a drummer with a pair of wooden mallets. The musicians stood rigidly at attention. The only sound was that of a hundred Klingon banners on long poles fluttering in the breeze.
Chancellor Martok sat on a metal stool at the base of the steps staring out at the incredible display. His cloak was draped around him like an impenetrable shield. Two more drummers stood on either side of him.
Scharr leaned over and whispered in Phil's ear.
"So when does this get started? It's hotter than hell out here!"
"I guess whenever the big man down there says so," Phil replied.
"Shut up, Phil," Katie said. "Don't embarrass us in front of the Klingons."
A sharp glance from Tigranian over his shoulder silenced the three of them.
Martok looked up into the sky. As soon as the sun was directly overhead, he rose to his feet, drew a ceremonial war fan from his belt, and flicked it open. He presented the red paper crescent to sky and shouted loud enough to awake the ghosts of the ruined city.
The two drummers flanking him raised their mallets and began a slow, deep rhythm. The sounds of their percussion echoed through the empty streets. The twenty drummers along the avenue slowly began beating their mallets against the edges of their drums, creating an eerie clicking sound. Then as quickly as it began, the playing stopped.
A loud horn echoed from beyond the lines of honor guards and all twenty-drummers began pounding a quick cadence. A procession of one hundred Klingon warriors armed with gin'tak spears appeared from around a corner and began marching through the long corridor of guardsmen. With each beat of the drum, the soldiers struck the ends of the spears into the cobblestones creating a fearsome and terrifying echo across the entire the front of formation was a rider mounted a jet black s'tarahk flanked by two soldiers each carrying a giant banner emblazoned with the tIq ghob.
The rider wore a set of ancient, ceremonial black armor modeled after Biroq's. On his head was a domed, black helmet and across his chest a golden sash. His face was a hidden by a fearsome, fanged mask modeled after the image of Fek'lhr.
"Why is he wearing that terrible mask?" Alex said leaning over towards Tigranian.
"When Biroq, the first Dahar Master, conquered Ty'Gokor," Tigranian explained, "the Samnatti called him the devil incarnate. He was so pleased that he struck true fear into the hearts of his enemies, he added a mask to his armor. Governors of Ty'Gokor have worn one during their inaugurations ever since."
"Why are the Klingons so obsessed with being feared?" Annabeth muttered with a shake of her head. "Why can't they be happy with just being respected?"
"Because," Lady Elessa said interjecting. "We are Klingons, Annabeth. We do not embrace other cultures. We conquer them. That ethos began right here on the spot where you now stand."
"What happens when someone finally conquers you?" Alex asked. Lady Elessa chuckled.
"Look around, child," she said confidently. "If Klingons ever allow themselves to be conquered, then we will no longer be Klingons, and it will not matter anyways."
Torlek reached the Chancellor and halted his steed. Martok raised his arm and the drumming ceased. Two attendants ran forward. One grabbed the s'tarahk's reigns as Torlek dismounted. The Governor then unbuckled his mask and removed his helmet. The other attendant respectfully received it with a bow of his head.
Martok began speaking in tlhIngan Hol. Tigranian translated for his crew.
"Torlek, Son of Ro'vagh, step forward."
Torlek marched to within reach of the Chancellor.
"Here in the ruins of our first conquered foes, do you swear to uphold the title and duties of High Governor of Ty'Gokor and Military Chief Staff to the Chancellor?" Martok asked.
"I swear," Torlek responded.
"And do you swear by your honor to defend the Klingon Empire against all its enemies at the price of your life?"
"I swear," Torlek repeated.
"Then to all warriors across the stars," Martok shouted. "Know that this man is my loyal servant and your commander. Long live the Empire!"
"LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!" the crowd repeated in unison.
"It is done," Tigranian said with a smile.
"Not quite," Lady Elessa added with a grin. Tigranian looked confused.
Torlek walked to the Chancellor's side before turning back towards the steps.
"Come forward, Laria, Daughter of Amira!" Torlek commanded. Laria froze in shock as her eyes grew wide.
"Daniel, what is going on?" she asked nervously.
"I don't know," he said genuinely perplexed.
"The head of your house ordered you to come forward!" Elessa commanded. "That is all you need to know."
Laria obediently bowed her head and descended the steps. It was painfully quiet again. She took her place in front of Martok and Torlek and bowed deeply.
"Chancellor, My Lord," she said.
"Raise your gaze, child. You are a warrior not a servant," Martok commanded before he stepped around her to address the crowd in tlhIngan Hol. Tigranian began to translate again.
"After the ascension of Kahless the Unforgettable, the Lady Lukara founded an order dedicated to preserving his teachings. It was composed of the Empire's greatest warriors, those whose deeds would forever live on in story and song. It is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a Klingon: The Order of the Bat'leth."
Tigranian looked at Lady Elessa in shock. She merely shrugged and turned back to the proceedings.
"The woman who stands before you," Martok continued, "while in command of a bird of prey, entered the Romulan Empire on a secret mission to rescue a fellow warrior. Without detection, she infiltrated a Romulan palace, slaughtered fifty Romulan vermin, and then beheaded the First Lady of the Romulan Empire with her own blades in one on one combat."
The entire crowed began to murmur in amazement.
"Silence!" Martok commanded. "Her body might be Bajoran, but her soul is Klingon." Tigranian nearly choked up on the words as he translated.
Torlek reached into his gauntlet and pulled out a large dk'tagh shaped badge made of polished steel. It consisted of a black tIq ghob superimposed over a gilded bat'leth. He handed it to the Chancellor before grabbing the still dazed Laria and placing her directly in front of Martok's imposing frame. Torlek then seized the grey stole over her shoulders and pulled it back to reveal the right breast of her white jacket.
"Glory to you and your house," Martok said affixing the badge to her uniform.
The crowd roared into thunderous applause.
Torlek grasped Laria's wrist and looked into her eyes.
"Glory to you and our house, my sister," he said with a proud grin.
"Qapla', my brother," Laria replied still not entirely sure if what just happened was real.
"Well, L," Tigranian joyfully whispered to himself on the steps behind her. "That's something else for your uniform…"